How to Find the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Madison Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MadisonAL, you might be wondering how to select the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Madison AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Madison AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Madison AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Madison pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Madison AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Madison AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Madison residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Madison AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Madison Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Madison AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Madison AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Madison Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Madison Alabama.